Counties to get Sh29 billion after talks

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani during a past interview.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Instead, the National Treasury demanded that the Senate passes the County Allocation of Revenue Bill 2020 to facilitate the release of this year’s share to counties.
  • The money is the balance of equitable share due to the devolved units in the last financial year and which the National Treasury is yet to disburse as required by law.

The National Treasury has yielded to pressure from governors and agreed to release Sh29.7 billion to counties.

The money is the balance of equitable share due to the devolved units in the last financial year and which the National Treasury is yet to disburse as required by law.

However, the counties will have to wait longer to access their share of this year’s revenue after the Treasury refused to release another Sh158 billion, which translates to 50 per cent of this year’s allocation to the 47 regions.

The governors pegged their proposal on last year’s Supreme Court advisory that in the absence of Division of Revenue Act (Dora), the National Assembly can authorise withdrawal on vote on account of up to 50 per cent of the previous allocation.

Instead, the National Treasury demanded that the Senate passes the County Allocation of Revenue Bill 2020 to facilitate the release of this year’s share to counties.

ENACTMENT OF BILL

The technical committee meeting convened by National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani agreed that the money should be disbursed but insisted that the Senate should expedite the enactment of the Bill.

Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka confirmed they agreed that all disbursement due to the last financial year be released.

“We agreed that the money be released to the counties immediately so that they are able to pay salaries for June and July,” Mr Oparanya said yesterday after the meeting.

The Treasury had withheld the funds, arguing the disbursement had expired with the lapse of the financial year and that there was no legal regime to guide the release.

Apart from Mr Oparanya and Mr Lusaka, other leaders who attended yesterday’s meeting were Senate Majority and Minority leaders, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki and Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o.

For a record 7th time, the Senate will today try to enact the elusive third basis formula as attention shifts to President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga to guide the way out of the impasse.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga held a meeting with Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth at Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli’s home in Kajiado.

LOBBYING COUNTIES

Mr Atwoli did not reveal what transpired during the meeting, but Nation has established that Mr Odinga was briefed on the contentious formula and the BBI report that is expected to be released soon.

Senators are divided down the middle over the report of the Finance and Budget Committee on the recommendation of the CRA and a proposal by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior as lobbying continues.

If the committee’s report is adopted, 18 of the 47 counties will lose out on the new formula.

Mr Kilonzo proposes that the status quo be maintained and counties with high populations be given more resources in the event there is additional funding.

On Monday, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri said a majority of the senators favour Mr Kilonzo’s proposal as the only way out of the standoff that has grounded service delivery in counties.